Study devalues role of hip protectors
Hip protectors to prevent elderly people from breaking their hips when they fall do not appear to be as useful as was once thought, says a study in the March 11, 2006 British Medical Journal (BMJ). Hip protectors were invented 50 years ago and the early research suggested that they prevented fractures of the neck of the femur, the most common serious injury when older people fall. The authors of the BMJ study, however, say that “their effectiveness in an institutional setting (ie care homes) is uncertain”. They say, too, that their value for older people living at home is also not proven. Since hip protectors are uncomfortable to wear and many residents are reluctant to use them, it now seems they are not justified except perhaps for residents who are at exceptionally high risk and who are able to wear them without too much discomfort.